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The Wicked Girls: A Novel Paperback – July 30, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Convicted of murdering a 4-year-old girl when they were 11, Jade and Bel spent the rest of their youth in two separate British correctional facilities. Upon their release as adults, they are given new names and the probationary condition that they never have contact again. But a series of murders in the struggling seaside town of Whitmouth brings renamed journalist Kirsty Lindsay face to face with the woman now known as Amber Gordon, a janitor at Funnland, where the latest body has been found. The two again find themselves connected over a violent crime. Marwood, the pseudonym of a British journalist, intersperses the contemporary serial-killer story line and hour-by-hour accounts of what happened the day the girls met and killed a preschooler. This chilling debut is chock-full of surprises. If Tana French and Gillian Flynn stayed up all night telling stories at an abandoned amusement park, this is awfully close to what they might come up with. --Karen Keefe


“The suspense keeps the pages flying, but what sets this one apart is the palpable sense of onrushing doom.” – Stephen King, “The Best Books I Read This Year”, Entertainment Weekly 

“Harrowing… while the received wisdom on violence committed by children seems to be that ‘some people just are born evil,’ Marwood makes a strong case that these crimes are more likely rooted in poverty, abuse and parental abandonment.” – Marilyn Stasio, The New York Time Book Review
“The swirling mass of perceptions and happenings behind the main drama of Kirsty and Amber’s past crime is what makes The Wicked Girls more than a plot-driven mystery novel. (Not that it isn’t also that; Marwood sacrifices no speed, no engaging details or cliffhangers for the sake of the book’s spiky undercurrent).” – The Rumpus

“In addition to being an excellent intelligent dark thriller in the vein of Gillian Flynn, The Wicked Girls presents an intriguing insider’s account of salacious British tabloid journalism” – BoingBoing
“[Alex] Marwood is equally at home with terrifying, potentially violent scenes and quieter ones revealing the tensions of work and family life. She is also adept at depicting the subtle and not so subtle ways differences in class shape the lives of the girls and the women they’ve become.”—Columbus Dispatch

“The pacing is whip-smart…The Wicked Girls makes a compelling novel not easily forgotten.” – South Florida Sun Sentinel

“Riveting from first page to last… A suspenseful, buzz-worthy novel.” – Kirkus (Starred Review)

“If Tana French and Gillian Flynn stayed up all night telling stories at an abandoned amusement park, this is awfully close to what they might come up with.” – Booklist (starred review)
"The Wicked Girls is ingenious and original -- a novel that surprises and rewards its readers, delivering a twist of an ending that I never saw coming, then realized it was the only ending that could truly satisfy. Real, chilling, true to its world and its characters. In short, a knock-out."—Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of And When She Was Good and What the Dead Know

The Wicked Girls is utterly compelling. It's psychologically rich, complex and masterfully plotted. I couldn't put it down, even when I sensed it was taking me somewhere very dark indeed. I can't wait to see what Alex Marwood comes up with next.”—Jojo Moyes, New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You



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Product Details

  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (July 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143123866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143123866
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (251 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

That makes this a very compelling, well written and well plotted story.
Lori Caswell
I just feel like something was missing... I do agree with some of the other readers that the British wording gets a little annoying but it wasn't a terrible read.
donna cavaliere
I found this quite gripping, to the point of staying up late to read on and even getting up very early to finish it before the day started.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Jonjon on March 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is causing a stir in the UK, and i have been seeing it mentioned by many people on Twitter. Intrigued, i checked the site and read very positive reviews there. Fortunately the kindle version is available here for download, as i live outside the UK. I have never written a review about a book before but feel compelled to do so.
It's brilliant! And I'm so glad i had plenty of quiet time to sit and read, because this is not the kind of book that is easy to leave. Very gripping and well written, it kept me totally absorbed. The characters are well observed and complete. The story itself is exciting and tense, but i was also captivated by the feeling of being torn in turn between disgust and sympathy for the main characters. This is just the kind of novel I love, where i will probably be thinking about it and my response to it for a while.
I highly recommend it, and i hope i dont have to wait too long to for this authors next offering.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Pamela on August 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
After reading "The Wicked Girls," I'm reminded of the one thing I've always believed in: No one knows what really goes on behind every closed door. Rich or poor; girl or boy; where you live - it doesn't matter.

This is definitely a novel that will keep me deep in thoughts for many days to come. Without a doubt a dark and disturbing tale about two women found guilty of a heinous crime committed twenty-five years earlier, and the roles they play in the normal, everyday world. No matter how many years pass, wherever they live, whoever they've become, try as they might, that day is forever etched in their mind. The author does the story justice as it moves between past and present throughout, capturing and engaging the reader's attention from the beginning and right up to the end. Even better, the author skillfully encompasses secondary tales that make this novel much more intriguing keeping you on the edge of your seat as it all comes to a head at the end. A well-written and compelling story that flows at a good pace, that includes a cast of in-depth characters that'll sure to arouse various different feelings from within. The role of the media and its influence on the public, believing in every word written whether it be true or not; the rumors and gossip that freely flows; and the true nature of each and every person that comes to light - together gives the story a sense of realism. "The Wicked Girls," a novel worth reading. Evil comes in many forms.
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45 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Best Crime Books on August 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
Alex Marwood is a pseudonym for a journalist who has worked in the British press for many years. Wicked Girls was her debut novel and I was looking forward to reading it. If I am totally honest the synopsis seemed pretty dark but I still eagerly started it on my way into work. Two young girls at the age of 11 were imprisoned for the murder of a four year old girl. They weren't even friends, having met that very day. Once inside prison they both have separate experiences and eventually get released and move on with their lives.

In the present time we meet Kirsty Lindsay, a journalist who is reporting on a number of attacks on young women in the seaside town of Whitmouth. We also meet Amber Gordon who is a cleaner at a funfair and is introduced to us when she is unfortunate enough to come across a dead body. Sadly when the two women meet they realise that this is just the beginning of their living nightmare

The story was really well constructed and I liked the way the story jumped between the present day and the past. The story of the two women as young girls and how the events unfold that terrible day are done slowly. The layers are peeled back as at the same time the reader sees what is happening in their lives currently. It seems like these two women have no chance to redeem themselves as once again their lives clash in the worst possible way. The thing that I did enjoy was the writing style, it was easy to get into and the story was well paced. I did however have that uncomfortable feeling while reading this book, which was more to do with the subject matter than the author's talent!

This particular book certainly has lots going on, and it certainly doesn't shy away from dealing with the difficult subject of child killers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
We've read the stories in the papers - children killing children. We're horrified, wondering how it could happen, what is wrong with them, where were their parents and more.

Alex Marwood has taken that premise and penned a riveting debut novel.

In 1986 England, eleven year old Bel and Jade meet for the first time. At the end of that one day of friendship, a four year old will be dead. And they will be convicted of murder. " I don't understand why they hate me so much. We didn't mean it. We never meant it to happen.'

Twenty five years later, each has been released and made a life for themselves. But the paths they've taken are very different from each other. It is another set of murders in a seaside resort town that sets the stage for their paths crossing again. 'Kirsty' is a reporter covering the murders and 'Amber' is a cleaner at the carnival where the latest victim was found.

Ohh, what a page turner!! The present day search for the murderer is alternated with chapters from the past that detail bit by bit what led up to that fateful day in 1986. The present day story is no less riveting, full of tension and questions. Each woman has so much to lose if anyone discovers who they really are. What lengths will they go to, to keep their identities hidden? Who is murdering young women?

Each woman was well drawn - I felt like they were 'real'. Their home lives and thoughts were compelling. I did find myself drawn to one more than the other. The supporting characters were just as fleshed out and had their own secrets. Especially creepy were the thought processes of Martin - a man who doesn't see his behaviour as stalking.

This was an excellent thriller, complete with a 'didn't see that coming' ending. Alex Marwood is a pseudonym for a London journalist - the crimes and the prose have a gritty, authentic feel to them.

Marwood is working on a second novel - one I'll be watching for.
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